Alberta recently saw one of its most mild winters in decades. Although this made for improved winter driving and decreased risk of frostbite, the warm winter is raising concerns about another health hazard.
Experts are predicting that an abnormally warm and short winter means less ticks died during the winter months. More than twice as many ticks have already been seen this spring as in previous years.
A common misconception is that ticks in Alberta do not carry Lyme Disease. However a tick surveillance study done in 2013 by Alberta Health reported the following:
- Of 960 total submissions, 105 Ixodes** ticks were submitted by Alberta resident humans and animals with no travel history.
- 21 out of 105 (20 per cent) were positive for B. burgdorferi. Only one was found on a human.
- Ixodes were found in all health zones; 72 out of 105 (69 per cent) in Edmonton Zone.
In addition to a change in the tick population, rates of reported Lyme Disease are also increasing. Dr. Gregory Taylor, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, this month stated “We think the numbers are much higher and it’s alarming that the numbers are increasing continuously”. In 2009 140 cases of Lyme Disease were reported in Canada; in 2015 these numbers increased to more than 700. The number of people actually affected is estimated to be significantly higher than this.
Although the Bullseye rash is a classical sign of infection with Borellia Burgdorferi, many infected will not develop the rash known as erythema migrans. Early symptoms may also include fever, joint pain, and fatigue. If left untreated this can progress into cardiac, neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Albertan’s are encouraged to wear long pants and sleeves when outdoors and to check themselves and others for ticks. If a tick is found it should be tested for Borellia Burgdorferi and other tick-borne diseases, often referred to as “co-infections”.
If you are experiencing acute symptoms or feel like you may be suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease, contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our naturopaths. The Lyme-literate Naturopathic Doctors at the Nardella Clinic are members of ILADS and have years of experience in both diagnosing and treating Lyme disease.